For the past years, especially since smartphones and tablets have flooded the market, almost every week, I’ve been hearing new stories, rumors and court decisions about patent wars. I have always wondered who might be interested in this annoying brouhaha that didn’t seem to have a stop. The number of Android users has grown and so has the influence and financial power of the Cupertino company. That’s why, right now, the patent war between Apple and Samsung – the chief of the Android army – has reached its hottest point.

boycott apple

Good Artists Get Banned, Great Artists Get Patents Approved

Steve Jobs himself used to say, quoting Pablo Picasso, that good artists copy, great artists steal. Looking at all this patent mess between Apple and Samsung, we realize that in some cases, good artists get banned, and great artists get patents approved, or, the other way around, if you like. From what I can tell, Apple has been one of the most aggressive companies in terms of suing others for alledged patent infringements. On the software side, it seems like an Apple-Android war; on the hardware side, it seems that Samsung has the “honor” of being charged attack after attack by Apple’s hoard of lawyers.


The patent war against Samsung is simply the latest and probably, the one that got the biggest promotion, mainly because there would be many consumers affected by a potential ban on Samsung’s devices. Apple won numerous legal battles, but this one seems different. Everything started when a California judge granted Apple a pre-trial injuction against Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Boycott Apple: we Want Innovation Back

Galaxy Nexus is a phone with Google’s direct involvement, so this makes it an even bigger patent war, with the chance of upsetting even more people at the Googleplex. Is Apple already acting too bossy, are they too greedy? These are questions that have almost created an online movement – Boycott Apple. You can see it trending on Twitter and Google Plus and if you think Apple has gone too far with their patent wars, join the cause.

apple ban galaxy nexus

The same judge that granted Apple these crucial  preliminary injuctions stated that Apple must pay almost $100 million for a bond needed to secure this preliminary injunction. If I get it right, this amount represents the sum of money Samsung is losing while its products are being banned. For your information, Apple has lost a very important patent war recently, one that involved Motorola Mobility (now Google’s asset). Here’s what the judge had to say:

“Apple is complaining that Motorola’s phones as a whole ripped off the iPhone as a whole. But Motorola’s desire to sell products that compete with the iPhone is a separate harm, and a perfectly legal one, from any harm caused by patent infringement. To suggest that it has suffered loss of market share, brand recognition, or customer goodwill as a result of Motorola’s alleged infringement of the patent claims still in play in this case is wild conjecture.”

Therefore, it seems that Apple might be patent-hungry after this essential court loss. But banning Samsung’s products will make people turn their eyes towards such devices as the iPhone 4S, the new iPad or will simply make them angrier? I get it that for those that aren’t quite tech savvy, an iPhone might seem better than a Galaxy Nexus and an iPad better than the Galaxy Tab, but what about those that are on the Android side? Should we boycott Apple because they’re not allowing us to buy the products that we like?

iRacism, Clumsy Move in a Delicate Moment

What will happen if Microsoft’s Surface tablet becomes reality, will they sue them for the Smart Cover, as well? There are many reasons to boycott Apple, and one of the most recent seems to be one of political/social reasons. Recently, an Apple Store employee refused to sell an iPad to a customer that had Iranian origins. The employee said he can’t sell her the iPad because “USA and Iran have so bad relations”.

The employee was also claiming that Apple’s policy prohibits the exportation, sale or supply of any Apple goods, technologies to Iran, as well as North Korea, Cuba, Sudan and Syria without prior authorization from the US government. But how could he be sure that this person was going back to Iran? iRacism – reason enough to boycott Apple, at least from those that can empathize with the persons that have suffered.

Apple is the Master in Reality Distortion Field

apple litigate

After all, just how much better are Apple’s products than everybody else’s? It’s not like they have a secret recipe and nobody else has it. Steve Jobs might have invented 300 different design patents, but I think his biggest achievement is the reality distortion field that he and his team have managed to create around Apple. Research in Motion has cemented this concept in a blog post 2 years ago. If you’ve been watching all their presentations, keynotes and so on, you should’ve noticed that there’s

a mix of charm, charisma, bravado, hyperbole, marketing, appeasement and persistence. RDF was said to distort an audience’s sense of proportion and scales of difficulties and made them believe that the task at hand was possible. While RDF has been criticized as anti-reality, those close to Jobs have also illustrated numerous instances in which creating the sense that the seemingly impossible was possible led to the impossible being accomplished (thereby proving that it had not been impossible after all.

Is Apple Innovating or Just Brilliantly Assembling?

Reality distortion field – I find this enough a reason to boycott Apple. I have always find it hard to understand why is Apple acting so agressive when it’s obvious that the innovation they’re doing is actually a well-crafted assembly imitation. They follow the paths of many predecessors, which have existing technologies and materials to generate new technologies by recombining them (extracted from the book Copycats: How Smart Companies Use Imitation to Gain a Strategic Edge).

apple slide to unlock

Therefore, Apple’s biggest merit is the one of properly assembling independent parts to create what we call an innovative product and then distort our perception about it and let thousands of blogs/websites to do the same. Going on the same logic, I remember what Isaac Newton said:

“What Descartes did was a good step. You have added much several ways, and especially in taking the colours of thin plates into philosophical consideration. If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”

Much of what Apple is today is owed to previous inventions, technological achievements done by other companies than Apple. And this is something perfectly normal, that’s how we’re evolving. Apple did not invent the MP3 player, the smartphone not even the App Store. We all know that Apple has been shameless about stealing great ideas. Have you ever wondered why patents are being made public? Isn’t that to further encourage innovation and restrict immitation?

Patent Trolling – Great Way to Kill Competition

patent troll

But what Apple is doing is called – pattent trolling. Enough reason to boycott Apple – yes. They’re not protecting the innovation, but their own a$$ and money, frankly speaking. For them, this is good – protecting what they’ve crafted in their garage full of bright minds. But what does it mean for us? Why isn’t Apple becoming the superhero company that we all want it to be, why are they trying to kill competition? From what I can tell, true innovation can only come out of competition, but Apple doesn’t seem to love that. They want to maintain their position, they want people to blindly buy iPhones, iPads forever. But that’s impossible.

The reasons behind Apple’s legal battles are minor: they’re suing competitors for minor things that could be easily redressed. If you recall, Microsoft did the same thing, only that they allowed competition to change those parts that were similar. Apple wants far more drastic measures to be taken. That’s against innovation, that’s against competition and is actually supporting the monopolistic culture. Apple, just stop complaining and innovate even more!

Should You Boycott Apple Products?

Boycotting Apple, refusing to buy their products is what we can do as consumers to support innovation as it should be. Copyrights, trademarks are needed, but when it’s becoming a way to milk some cash, it’s aggressive. There’s clear proof that Apple stole from Google. There’s a real patent absurdity going on there, and everybody would benefit if Apple would cool off their dogs. If you still don’t believe Apple isn’t acting orthodox, here are some more reason from David Amerland:

1. Control-freakery – it all started with Steve Jobs and his internal culture of fear. It continues, to a lesser extent, today.
2. Dubious production methods – from virtual slave labor conditions to a totally unempathic approach to doing business abroad. Apple’s changing the world in terms of style but not substance.
3. Overpriced. – it is no accident that the company is so profitable. Their profit-margin is the sort which any business would die for.
4. Anti-competitive – they lock consumers into their ecosystem and developers out of it. They make it hard for you to port your data. Once the Apple shackles go on, boy they ain’t coming off.
5. Data hogs – they take your data, lock it into their verticals and never allow you to even see what they do with it.
6. Haters – their approach to banning products until patent issues have been resolved has never endeared them to me. Particularly since Steve Jobs himself said that Apple was one of the greatest thieves of ideas.
7. Anti-social – they truly fail to ‘get’ social both as an enterprise and as a community. They think generating a wave of bad will against them is OK as long as they still make money.
8. No conscience – at a time when most companies work hard to integrate themselves in their communities and develop a social conscience, Apple remains conscience-free.
9. Environmentally unfriendly – Apple has repeatedly come under fire for its environmentally unfriendly production methods. I admit that here I do not know how they stack up against the competition but Google at least has become a trailblazer in its Green Data Canters.

Apple is watching, don’t worry. They see our tweets, they see our posts. Apple is the master of crafting products and giving them an unbelievably simple, aesthetic aspect. We don’t want to view Apple as a megalomaniac company. We want you to further innovate, Apple. Focus on that and consumers will follow. Don’t kill competition.

[photo credits] – cnet.

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Managing Editor

is the Managing Editor of Technically Personal. When he has some extra-time, he writes about Windows 8 apps and reviews them on Wind8Apps. Believes that technology is the main engine of civilization. Send him a tweet or make him your Facebook friend

 
 
  • Arvind

    Its human nature and nature of corporations that are big to kill others.
    See what Honeywell tried to do to Nest.. What resulted is a completely different matter.
    Apple is too big to think like a startup now. After demise of StJb, the downtrend has begun..

  • render

    This is fairly idiotic commentary. All of these companies are suing each other in a battle royale. To try and place blame anywhere besides the USPTO is crazy.

    Samsung has sued Apple just as much as Apple has sued Samsung..And before you get all teary eyed over Samsung, remember that Microsoft gets a hefty 5-15 bucks per every android device sold.

    Why? Because the big boys are afraid to do anything but settle outright with MS even though its patent depth is dubious when it comes to telecom.

    So if your looking for an 800 lb gorilla, you might want to look at the ones who Samsung and Google are too afraid to even litigate against.

    Microsoft. Apple has little to gain from preventing Samsung products from entering the market. Microsoft has been profiting from Android since day one.

    Wake up figure it out.

    • http://www.maindevice.com Radu Tyrsina

      “To try and place blame anywhere besides the USPTO is crazy”

      Really? Do you know how the USPTO actually works? The patents are made public so that we could SEE what the innovation is about and so that other companies could see as well and AVOID copying.

      But, the patent system, indeed, is rottent to the core. Let’s go back to the time when Alva Edison stole patents from Nikola Tesla. The patent system will remain rotten until something is done. I’m not against Apple and you can see that in this post http://techpp.com/2012/03/30/apple-superhero-company/. I believe in innovation.

  • dave

    May want to go back and re-read the RIM commentary you cited from Jim Balsillie, then co-CEO. Hi major supporting argument against the ‘Reality Distortion Field’ – “we know that 7” tablets will actually be a big portion of the market and we know that Adobe Flash support actually matters to customers who want a real web experience.” We’ve yet to see any 7″ really take, and as of Android 4.1, what tablet of importance is going to run Flash? Also, given the events since he wrote that post, I would hardly consider Balsillie any sort of source of insight into the tech industry.

    As for the refusal to sell a product to an Iranian customer in an Apple store, that just seems like a ludicrous assertion, but one that should really have some supporting evidence if it’s going to be cited.

    Finally, I assure you that Google would issue no apologies if it were to win any of the patent infringement lawsuits it has filed against other companies, and I would expect none from Apple. It isn’t Apple that is broken here, it’s the insane patent system. If you want to boycott anything, boycott the ones who actually make the rules, not those who just play in the ballpark. If you wanted to start boycotting every tech company in the tech space that is trying to utilize the patent system to protect themselves against competition, you would have to boycott many more companies than Apple. Patent reform is the solution we need, not these ridiculous #boycott internet memes.

    • http://www.maindevice.com Radu Tyrsina

      1. I referred to RIM’s commentary as a way to strengthen the idea that the Reality Distortion Field is something real, something accepted by tech companies as a given fact, not something to debate on.

      2. What more citation do you want … ?

      3. I agree with you that the patent system is broken, but it’s a vague enemy to fight with. And Apple is the most obvious company that is part of the patent system with its way of doing things. Hit Apple and you might affect the patent system.

      • dave

        The patent system is hardly a vague enemy to fight with. It is pretty clearly defined as to who runs it, who enforces it, and who has the power to create legislation that it must follow.

        We didn’t see this boycott movement when the suit was filed, or boycott movements against Google, Motorola, Oracle, Kodak, or HTC when they pursued legal remedies for equally non-competitive patents. Apple becomes a fun target only due to the fact that they have won a battle. If the true issue here was with these non-competitive, anti-innovation practices, then the boycott sentiment would be distributed equally among those participating. It really makes a lot more sense to understand that companies will play by whatever rules are set forth by the governing bodies, and at every turn try to push them to the limits to gain and maintain an edge. This is just the nature of the game, and the big players are all doing the same things, so if this is truly the issue at work here, use the #boycott equally among all the players.

        • http://www.maindevice.com Radu Tyrsina


          Apple becomes a fun target only due to the fact that they have won a battle”

          actually, they didn’t. From what I know, it’s a pre-trial injuction. So, they didn’t really won it.

          The game is cruel and unfair, I do agree with you here, Dave.

  • kromit

    Apple alone is not the problem. It is the patent system and something must be done against it. Patent trolling prevents innovation so i guess an example must be made!

    #BoycottApple

  • Ujjwal Kanth

    Wonderful article as ever! :)
    I too like some of the products by apple but you raise genuine points. I am against the idea of patents as in current state. Apple is just fiddling with these laws and trying to make the best out of it.

    • http://www.maindevice.com Radu Tyrsina

      Thanks Ujiwal ;)

  • Gebura

    Answering to the title of the article, NO, we shouldn’t boycott Apple, instead you can try to change the patent system.
    Why boycott a successful company? because all people buys its products? Your reasons seems philosophical ones, and that, people doesn’t cares.
    Companies keep litigating all the time. A company this size who doesn’t know how to play the game doesn’t deserves to be a player.

  • Sinepa

    Totally agree with this article.
    I feel so good about my next gadget: Galaxy Note 2

  • ilovedoggies

    Korean companies HAVE NOT PAID compensations for the intellectual property rights unlike
    Europeans, American and Japanese. They exports under the low currencies that brought unfair trades around the globe.